The Berkeley, California-based singer-songwriter M. Lockwood
Porter, who got his start in music playing in punk bands in Tulsa, Oklahoma when he was in high school, is resistant to simple categorization, though. “I get called an Americana singer, and I get why. But it’s a narrow label. I still have this punk rock point of view that, whenever I’m around a bunch of people that are doing something similar, makes me want to take a left turn.”
How To Dream Again – tracked live in three days with minimal overdubs – is one of those left turns. While Porter dabbled in lush country-rock and expansive power pop on 27, How To Dream Again sounds tougher and leaves more space. The band – consisting of Porter, Peter Labberton, Bevan Herbekian, and Jeff Hashfield, and John Calvin Abney – provide a musical kinship that sounds years beyond their relationships.
Glide Magazine is premiering the contemplative rock anthem “American Dreams Denied” (below) that flourishes with the high energy directness of Springsteen and the lasting vulnerability of Jeff Tweedy. With a vital election season approaching, this composition that questions how obtainable the American Dream is for those that don’t sell their soul to the man- couldn’t be more relevant.
“One cool thing about being a touring musician is that I get to meet and talk to a lot of people all over the country. I get to take a temperature check on how a lot of different people in different places feel. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a common theme with people around my age, in their late 20s or early 30s—we’re really anxious about the future. While most people my age would’ve been starting families and buying houses 20 or 30 years ago, most people I talk to are still struggling to pay rent, are in a lot of debt, and are often in pretty precarious work situations. It’s become a cliche that we’re probably going to be the first generation of Americans to do worse than our parents’ generation economically, but I think a lot of people my age feel the weight of that. With “American Dreams Denied,” I wanted to write a song that captured that mix of anxiety and frustration. It’s also an attempt at something in the vein of Creedence’s “Fortunate Son,” but updated for 2016—a catchy, straightforward, two-and-a-half minute rock song that captures a specific political moment and has an anthemic vibe to it.”
“I wrote “American Dreams Denied” really quickly, in about 5 minutes, but I thought it wasn’t done,” adds Porter. “I think I was worried that it was a little too simple and straightforward. I spent months trying to add new verses and sections, but my trusted advisors—my girlfriend and bandmates—all kept telling me that I was overthinking it, and that the super-simple original version was more powerful. I think they were right in the end. The final version of the song sounds pretty much exactly like it did five minutes after I started writing it.”